Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oswalt Was Not the Answer

As I sit here and watch the Royals take yet another late lead, I am again forced to defend the decision the Sox made to not trade for Roy Oswalt or someone else. I have heard countless times over the past 10 days, "Why didn't they get Oswalt (most of the time pronounced Oz-walt by these morons)? He would have put us over the top!" Wrong.

As we all know by know and I have demonstrated seemingly billions of times in the past 5 months, (say it with me now), "the NL is far inferior to the AL." Guys like Beckett can dominate in the NL but struggle in the AL and vice versa for guys like Arroyo, who sucked yet again today. Oswalt's career trajectory is already heading downward as he gets closer to his 29th birthday later this month. Yes, he's won 20 games in consecutive seasons and his ERA has remained pretty stable for the past 6 seasons, but other stats indicate a decline. Check out his K/9, for example:
2001: 9.15
2002: 8.03
2003: 7.63
2004: 7.82
2005: 6.85
2006: 6.25

That's not good, folks. His K/BB has stayed pretty steady, but his OPSA has climbed steadily over those 6 years from .633 in 2001 to .741 this year. His WHIP has gone from 1.06 to 1.25. Now, 1.25 is still pretty good, but it indicates a downward spiral.

We'll get back to Oswalt in just a moment. You may recall hearing about Beckett's problem of relying on his fastball too often. 71% of the time, in fact. And opponents bat .264 off his fastball vs. .124 against the curve, which he throws 17% of the time, and .218 against the changeup, thrown 11% of the time. You can get away with that in the NL, but he's obviously overthrowing it.

Oswalt has the same problem. He throws the heater 67% of the time and opponents bat .286 off it. He throws the curve 18% of the time to a .214 average and sliders 10% to a .248 average. Why? I don't know.

(Wily Mo just hammered another ball to retake the lead. This guy is a stud. Yeah, we need Arroyo back. I'm so glad I've documented all of my Sox opinions over the past 5 months so no one can question my allegiances or my assertions that I've felt this way all along.)

Also, if the Sox had gotten Oswalt, it would have partially been for the second half of this year. Yes, I know he's signed beyond this year, but hear me out. His second half stats over the past 3 years also have a bad trend. His ERA goes up by 0.31, which isn't huge, but the BAA goes from .252 to .266 and his WHIP goes from 1.18 to 1.25. Again, not major, but a minor concern for a guy you're going to get for the second half.

And your starting pitching is not the only problem. The Sox are not hitting right now. And their relievers can't hold a lead. Their catching is a trainwreck and Javy Lopez has an amazing ability to make anyone look like Rick Ankiel. The 2 studs, Beckett and Schilling, are struggling. And their biggest strength from the first half, their defense, has even seen patches of trouble lately. Roy Oswalt can't solve all of these problems.

So there you have it. Do I need to explain now why the Buehrle trade was a bad idea?


TheYurtingYeti said...

Yes, yes you do:)

skootch said...

Yeah, explain! No really you are very right. I said it before and I'll say it again though, I feel like often in Sox Nation it is not about rings year after year, its about being able to enjoy watching the game, which is tough to do when getting stomped by the worst teams in baseball. It appears no lead is safe from....or safe with, the Red Sox.